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Are you protected as a whistleblower?

Memphis Retaliation Lawyers

There is a lot at stake for an employee when it comes to whistleblowing which is why there is legislation and policies in place to protect them.  An employee’s protection depends on what employer they work for. There are two types of whistleblowing. The first is internal whistleblowing in which the whistleblower reports misconduct to another person within a company. For example, an employee at a warehouse facility witnesses a supervisor steal money, property, inventory, and supplies to the company’s corporate headquarters is an internal whistleblower. Some companies have internal whistleblowing policies and procedures in place, such as an anonymous hotline or web portal for making reports. Employees must comply with these policies as stipulated by their employment contracts.

The second type is external whistleblowing in which the whistleblower reports misconduct to a person outside the organization, such as federal, state, local agency or the media. An example would be when an employee who works for a food establishment inform the local health department about improper food handling. With any type of whistleblowing, the person who is reporting the wrongdoing must do so in good faith in that he or she reasonably believes wrongdoing has occurred or will be occurring. Federal employees have additional protections notwithstanding any organizational policies and laws denoting illegal activities.

For people who work for the federal government, the Whistleblower Protection Act, or WPA, protects disclosures of misconduct. This law protects federal employees who disclose illegal or improper government activities. The WPA shields federal employees from retaliatory action once the employee voluntarily discloses information regarding dishonest or illegal activities within a government organization. The government can’t take action against, or threaten to take action against, the employee. This means the government can’t fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against a whistleblower. An employee who feels that he or she has been retaliated against for making a complaint, must bring a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within thirty days of the retaliatory action.State laws can vary significantly, so it would be better to research the protections available to you in advance of taking actions that could result in retaliation by your employer. You should also examine your employment contract, if there is one, to determine whether you have any contractual obligations to participate in an internal whistleblowing system. You should also examine your employer’s policy handbook for additional information about the employers’ policies relating to misconduct and whistleblowing

 

There are many laws both federal and state out there to protect whistleblowers. If you need assistance understanding what your rights are and what laws protect you, contact an experience employment lawyer.

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